Scott Nicol

Lives in United Kingdom Kent, United Kingdom
Works as a Scientist
Has a website at www.snicolphotos.com
Joined on Dec 14, 2010

Comments

Total: 34, showing: 1 – 20
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On article Sony warns against use of unauthorized third-party apps (176 comments in total)
In reply to:

mick232: If I use such an app and an unrelated part such the built-in flash or battery fails, I will insist on my warranty, whether Sony likes it or not. If I have a firmware problem, that is a different story.

I could also envisage an app or firmware mod that tapped into the sensor shift system and tried to emulate an Olympus style mega pixel shift mode image or pentax style star tracking app doing serious damage (or significantly taxing) the camera's shift mechanism if it wasn't programmed carefully / had fail safes to make sure the mechanism fired up / shutdown as designed...

Link | Posted on Jun 22, 2016 at 01:03 UTC
On article Patents hint at camera on future Apple Watch (34 comments in total)
In reply to:

Scott Nicol: Whilst I'm not a big fan of the Apple Watch and agree that a watch is a far from ideal platform / form factor for taking artistic photos.... its worth pointing out that there ARE other uses for a camera other than 'art' - one of the problems with smartwatches (and other small electronic gadgets) is that the physical size often limits ways for the user to interact with the device. A camera or video 'input' is not that far fetched for certain applications e.g. facial recognition to unlock things, bar code scanning, character recognition for translations etc are all possible applications for such a camera. All of these are niche uses currently but like many technologies before them, smartwatches are seeking the 'killer' app that justifies their purchase in the mind of the user - thus I don't think Apple CONSIDERING the inclusion of a camera in the watch is quite as crazy as some might think.

I actually agree to some extent. I own a pebble and one of the reasons it is better than my old watch is the customisation display - specifically, I have poor eye site without my glasses on and poor colour perception in low light - the ability to turn the back light on with a gesture, use a very large font that I can read and choose a colour scheme that works for my eyes at night is actually a big plus. I actually believe that the killer app will be health related in some form - the manufacturers are chasing the fitness market / HR monitors as they see them as low hanging fruit but an always on / in direct contact with the skin monitor for say blood glucose or monitoring HR or BP in conjunction with a fall would be genuinely useful medical device... that also tells the time / accepts notifications. I believe all the tech is ready for mainstream adoption / consumer acceptance - bar battery life which is my number one problem with the pebble and why I won't buy the apple watch just yet.

Link | Posted on Jun 21, 2016 at 12:41 UTC
On article Patents hint at camera on future Apple Watch (34 comments in total)

Whilst I'm not a big fan of the Apple Watch and agree that a watch is a far from ideal platform / form factor for taking artistic photos.... its worth pointing out that there ARE other uses for a camera other than 'art' - one of the problems with smartwatches (and other small electronic gadgets) is that the physical size often limits ways for the user to interact with the device. A camera or video 'input' is not that far fetched for certain applications e.g. facial recognition to unlock things, bar code scanning, character recognition for translations etc are all possible applications for such a camera. All of these are niche uses currently but like many technologies before them, smartwatches are seeking the 'killer' app that justifies their purchase in the mind of the user - thus I don't think Apple CONSIDERING the inclusion of a camera in the watch is quite as crazy as some might think.

Link | Posted on Jun 20, 2016 at 13:38 UTC as 6th comment | 2 replies
On article Action packed: Shooting the Sony a6300 in Miami (241 comments in total)
In reply to:

Androole: "...one thing is clear: Sony anticipates the a6300 to be another top seller."

I imagine that a lot of the A6000's popularity came from its remarkably low price tag. It was a high-quality sensor and processor wrapped in a simple, inexpensive body with no extra features or frills to drive up the cost. The A6300 very much follows in its footsteps with a similar template, but at a 60% (!) increase to its starting MSRP for a very similar camera, it doesn't look like nearly the same bargain value proposition in a very competitive market.

Likewise, it's hard to feel like a camera at this price tag will stand the test of time and "look impressive, even two years down the road," with ergonomic oversights you've highlighted like the missing direct controls, no touchscreen or AF joystick, and not being weather-sealed despite the $1000 price point.

It's a nice camera, but doesn't feel like it moves the bar the way the A6000 did unless you only care about 4K and incremental AF improvements...

@T3 Don't get me wrong - I love the A6000 and I bought one on day of launch - I felt it was a bargain even then! Nor do dislike what I've seen of the A6300. I'm even SORT of OK with the higher launch price as I want Sony / Camera shops to make more PROFIT - that ensures Sony will support the line with more lenses, flash, bodies etc which is good for me as someone invested in sony equipment (A7II owner as well). All I'm saying is that from the A6300 Sony looks to be aiming for more profit / unit over more sales - which is a perfectly valid business goal IF it works.

Personally, I'm still happy with my A6000 as a second body (even with a small sensor scratch) and many of the A6300 upgrades are nice to haves (for my work) rather than essentials so I'm not in the pre-order numbers this time at this price point but will watch and maybe pick one up later in the pricing cycle (or if the A6000 dies).

Link | Posted on Mar 10, 2016 at 20:41 UTC
On article Action packed: Shooting the Sony a6300 in Miami (241 comments in total)
In reply to:

Androole: "...one thing is clear: Sony anticipates the a6300 to be another top seller."

I imagine that a lot of the A6000's popularity came from its remarkably low price tag. It was a high-quality sensor and processor wrapped in a simple, inexpensive body with no extra features or frills to drive up the cost. The A6300 very much follows in its footsteps with a similar template, but at a 60% (!) increase to its starting MSRP for a very similar camera, it doesn't look like nearly the same bargain value proposition in a very competitive market.

Likewise, it's hard to feel like a camera at this price tag will stand the test of time and "look impressive, even two years down the road," with ergonomic oversights you've highlighted like the missing direct controls, no touchscreen or AF joystick, and not being weather-sealed despite the $1000 price point.

It's a nice camera, but doesn't feel like it moves the bar the way the A6000 did unless you only care about 4K and incremental AF improvements...

Have to be careful with preorder rankings as those numbers can plummet once the early adopters get their cameras and real world opinions and reviews are on the internet but, cautiously, this would suggest that that Sony was at least partially right - there are plenty of people that will stump up the higher launch price

Link | Posted on Mar 10, 2016 at 09:33 UTC
On article Action packed: Shooting the Sony a6300 in Miami (241 comments in total)
In reply to:

Androole: "...one thing is clear: Sony anticipates the a6300 to be another top seller."

I imagine that a lot of the A6000's popularity came from its remarkably low price tag. It was a high-quality sensor and processor wrapped in a simple, inexpensive body with no extra features or frills to drive up the cost. The A6300 very much follows in its footsteps with a similar template, but at a 60% (!) increase to its starting MSRP for a very similar camera, it doesn't look like nearly the same bargain value proposition in a very competitive market.

Likewise, it's hard to feel like a camera at this price tag will stand the test of time and "look impressive, even two years down the road," with ergonomic oversights you've highlighted like the missing direct controls, no touchscreen or AF joystick, and not being weather-sealed despite the $1000 price point.

It's a nice camera, but doesn't feel like it moves the bar the way the A6000 did unless you only care about 4K and incremental AF improvements...

I agree BUT I suspect the bean counters at Sony are testing what the market will stand - I suspect they think the a6000 started off too cheap and/or dropped in price too quickly and whilst that drove sales, it also meant less profit per unit - once the price started dropping its a lot harder for them to increase it compensate. Here, they will start off higher with a lot more profit and very closely monitor how its doing and drop the price accordingly to match their sales projections if needed. You have to remember, whilst being able to say "the best selling camera" is great for marketing, the board / shareholders would much rather see "most profitable overall"... even if that means fewer sales.

Link | Posted on Mar 9, 2016 at 23:38 UTC
In reply to:

maximme: still no solution to vertical shooting with the flash....
HOW to bounce when you are shooting vertical.
so far Sony has the best design.

I would agree its not essential but it does work well, particularly if you are constantly shifting from one orientation to the other at an event or using a non symmetrical light modifier

Link | Posted on Mar 2, 2016 at 21:56 UTC

People are talking about the technical side here (which is great) but for me, this is an important milestone in the commercial maturation of the A7 series - with all respect to Metabones et al, there are few guarantees or comeback when you use such an adaptor with a Canon lens on a Sony body - they list compatibility etc. but ultimately, if the combo stops working (say canon do a firmware change on their next lens production run) the onus is on Metabones to reverse engineer and update the adaptor but they are a small company with no guarantee of success.

Here, you are dealing with Sigma lenses and a sigma adaptor and Sigma is a significant player in the Lens world - if something goes wrong with the combo, I expect prompt responses from Sigma to fix it (via firmware update or back at the factory). It just gives the average user more confidence of future support. It also suggests that Sigma thinks the A7 series is worth the risk and they can profit from its recent popularity.

Link | Posted on Mar 2, 2016 at 19:20 UTC as 78th comment
In reply to:

maximme: still no solution to vertical shooting with the flash....
HOW to bounce when you are shooting vertical.
so far Sony has the best design.

I've seen it referred to as Sony's patented Quick Shift Bounce system in a few places so that may be why its not been adopted elsewhere - can anyone confirm that this is indeed the case?

Link | Posted on Feb 29, 2016 at 18:10 UTC
On article Fujifilm announces X-T1 IR for infrared photography (203 comments in total)
In reply to:

nathantw: I find it interesting that in the old days of film if we had a camera that had an infrared dot on the focus scale all we needed to do was buy a $15 (I'm exaggerating) roll of infrared film and a filter. Then there was Nikon's digital camera, the Coolpix 950 (I think), that did IR really well. Now you can get digital IR from Fuji for $1700. Man, inflation is a b*tch.

There also places that will perform the conversion for you if you are not confident enough (I wasn't on my first one) - circa 250GBP. I had a NEX 5n converted and it breathed new life into a camera that had previously been collecting dust on the shelf as a back up to my back up camera :-). Shooting solely in the IR range does create some very interesting images.

Link | Posted on Aug 3, 2015 at 14:34 UTC
On article Fujifilm announces X-T1 IR for infrared photography (203 comments in total)

If the filter on the sensor is letting through 380-1000nm light, isn't this a full spectrum rather than IR specific camera? To generate IR only images you would still need to add an IR pass filter to the front of the lens (e.g. a 590nm pass IR for example for near IR) otherwise what stops you blowing the exposure with visible light? If so do Fuji plan to manufacture them / sell them as accessories? Of course, an advantage of this approach is you can change the filter to IR cut off (or UV) pass for visible or UV use, increasing the flexibility at the expense of IR photographic convenience (I don't know how many filters would be required to cover all fuji lens filter sizes). My only experience is of a converted NEX camera but on that, some lenses (typically cheaper kit lenses) also create IR hotspots at smaller apertures - I'd be interested whether some of Fuji's lenses also suffer from this. Nevertheless, an interesting little niche camera for Fuji here which I applaud.

Link | Posted on Aug 3, 2015 at 14:20 UTC as 36th comment | 3 replies
On article Travel tripods: Comparing 5 aluminum kits (110 comments in total)

I've been using the BeFree for six months now and overall I like it but its not perfect but it is pretty travel friendly and as always, the best tripod is the one you can be bothered to take with you. I've not really had any problems with the levers or angle adjustment knobs in the field but do concur with your vibration findings - When fully extended in windy conditions its just not as stable as I would like. I put this down to the very thin final legs sections.
I use it mainly for wide angle / landscape work with assorted mirrorless cameras so never get anywhere the max load. Combine the befree with a mid size lightweight shoulder bag and a couple of mirrorless camera lenses and you have a very flexible complete set up (for my style of photography) that still comes in well under 3Kg. I can walk around all day with this set whilst still looking discrete and not breaking my back with gear.

Link | Posted on Jul 21, 2014 at 21:34 UTC as 20th comment
On article Sony a6000 Review (891 comments in total)
In reply to:

Strachen: Strange that an model that starts with the a does not take a mount lens. Just sayin.......

Technically all the NEX cameras were Alpha-NEX so its been the case for many years BUT I do take your point - its confusing to exisiting owners let alone the average buyer - Sony's brand management and communications are amongst the worst in the industry in my opinion which must be frustrating for the guys actually designing, making and selling the cameras.... and I say that as a long term owner and user of alpha mount and NEX cameras.

Link | Posted on Jul 18, 2014 at 11:11 UTC
On article Sony a6000 Review (891 comments in total)
In reply to:

Hubertus Bigend: I wonder how a smallish EVF with 462 x 346 effective RGB pixels can be "respectable" for a camera that offers 24 MP, let alone so many years after the first mirrorless camera has appeared on the market. Even the best EVF available today still lacks the clear image of a good optical SLR finder that allows precise manual focus without the nuisance of having to switch into a zoom-in mode. But an EVF like the current Olympus finder and probably the Fuji X-T1 finder, too, is at least a step in the right direction. New electronic finders should improve on that, not deteriorate.

@Hubertus have you had a chance to try the EVF on a Fuji X-T1? I tried a friends and found it impressive with its dual full screen / zoomed detail view (although I disliked the low refresh rate that appears to be a power saving feature until you half press the shutter - I tried it under fluorescent lighting and it was distracting). Of course, its worth noting that the X-T1 is in a different price bracket to the 6000.

Link | Posted on Jun 3, 2014 at 14:33 UTC
On article Sony a6000 Review (891 comments in total)
In reply to:

Hubertus Bigend: I wonder how a smallish EVF with 462 x 346 effective RGB pixels can be "respectable" for a camera that offers 24 MP, let alone so many years after the first mirrorless camera has appeared on the market. Even the best EVF available today still lacks the clear image of a good optical SLR finder that allows precise manual focus without the nuisance of having to switch into a zoom-in mode. But an EVF like the current Olympus finder and probably the Fuji X-T1 finder, too, is at least a step in the right direction. New electronic finders should improve on that, not deteriorate.

@Hubertus Yes I can see from a legacy lens point of view the lower res might be more of an issue if you want to focus whilst still seeing the whole scene unzoomed. My experience of focus peaking is that it helps immensely in good light but can struggle in low light / low contrast scenes. I guess my comments more address this idea that the A6000 is vastly inferior to the a77 / 6 EVF due to the drop in resolution - its actually more complex than that due to the refresh / improved optics and diopter adjustments. I personally would still give the a77 / 6 the edge but its much closer than resolution specs alone would suggest and so far I found it an easy adjustment to make when I swithc between the 2 (I still use the 6 as a backup body).

Link | Posted on Jun 3, 2014 at 14:27 UTC
On article Sony a6000 Review (891 comments in total)
In reply to:

h2k: A camera without touchscreen? That feels almost un-Sony.

Dropping the level gauge to shave a small bit off manufacturing costs (we presume) to help hit the price point was a curious move - by no means a deal breaker for me but It is vaguely annoying and I do miss it. Even more penny pinching though is the omission of the hotshoe cover that came with the NEX 6 - its a bit of black plastic that would have cost a few pennies / cents at most.

Link | Posted on Jun 3, 2014 at 11:39 UTC
On article Sony a6000 Review (891 comments in total)
In reply to:

h2k: A camera without touchscreen? That feels almost un-Sony.

I'm pretty sure the Nex 5 didn't have one either - I think it was introduced with the 5n

Link | Posted on Jun 3, 2014 at 11:19 UTC
On article Sony a6000 Review (891 comments in total)
In reply to:

Hubertus Bigend: I wonder how a smallish EVF with 462 x 346 effective RGB pixels can be "respectable" for a camera that offers 24 MP, let alone so many years after the first mirrorless camera has appeared on the market. Even the best EVF available today still lacks the clear image of a good optical SLR finder that allows precise manual focus without the nuisance of having to switch into a zoom-in mode. But an EVF like the current Olympus finder and probably the Fuji X-T1 finder, too, is at least a step in the right direction. New electronic finders should improve on that, not deteriorate.

I'm basing the above assessment on my previous experience with the a77 / NEX 6 and old a55 EVFs by the way

Link | Posted on Jun 3, 2014 at 11:15 UTC
On article Sony a6000 Review (891 comments in total)
In reply to:

Hubertus Bigend: I wonder how a smallish EVF with 462 x 346 effective RGB pixels can be "respectable" for a camera that offers 24 MP, let alone so many years after the first mirrorless camera has appeared on the market. Even the best EVF available today still lacks the clear image of a good optical SLR finder that allows precise manual focus without the nuisance of having to switch into a zoom-in mode. But an EVF like the current Olympus finder and probably the Fuji X-T1 finder, too, is at least a step in the right direction. New electronic finders should improve on that, not deteriorate.

I was initially worried about the step down in EVF res but in practical use the new EVF is fine - the improved optics help a bit I think in terms of clarity and brightness, refresh rate feels much better in low light plus manual focusing with the auto zoom / peaking and in viewfinder distance scale (all when using a native lens) really help.

Link | Posted on Jun 3, 2014 at 11:14 UTC
On article 1939: England in Color (part 1) (222 comments in total)

A fascinating series of 'vernacular' photographs - the biggest contribution of photography to our lives comes from shots like these that simply act as a window to the past. That most of them are composed with some degree of skill and understanding of photography also raises them above faded holiday snaps into something much more enduring and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Along similar lines, I recently started to scan in photos from my grandfather's album - a mixture of his own photos, official photos and postcards from his time as a Royal Marine from 1939 all the way into the late 1950s. Although many of the shots are not as technically proficient as these shots, its a fascinating journey from Pompeii Training Barracks in 1939 through the North Atlantic Convoys, Japan in 1946 to simply touring the world in the 1950s.

Link | Posted on Apr 25, 2014 at 09:24 UTC as 148th comment
Total: 34, showing: 1 – 20
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